by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
(Photo courtesy of GP/Sportfight)

This year is quickly turning out to be the year of the American lightweight division. From the UFC to smaller shows, from MMA veterans to youngsters, the 155-pound division is quickly re-establishing itself as one of the best in MMA.

Among the young talent that is having a great year and is poised to have a breakthrough is Oregon fighter John “Quick Guns” Gunderson.

After winning the Sportfight Lightweight Championship in January, Gunderson followed that up by winning the Desert Brawl 155-pound Title just a couple months later. Now, after taking some time off, John is set to return to action soon with the desire of taking another step towards stardom.

“I fought last month after taking two months off,” said Gunderson of his recent activities. “I’ve been kind of relaxing and just started training last week back at the gym. I’ve got a fight hopefully July 8th in the UCF, which an opponent hasn’t been named yet, and then in August I’m going to be fighting in the WEC.”

Gunderson added, “The organization called the UCF, Ultimate Cage Fighting, they’re one of the up-and-coming shows here in Oregon. It’s [my] second time fighting with them. Actually, the guys that own the organization own the gym I fight at. They’d just been putting on amateur fights, but this time they’re going to be putting on some pro fights as well.”

Gunderson is a veteran of over 30 fights, but he has yet to make a breakthrough for himself even though he holds MMA Championships in two organizations. According to John, it could be due to the fact that he hasn’t made a trip out of the Northwest, which will change soon.

“I feel good with what I’ve accomplished, but I feel like I haven’t gotten what I deserved,” explained Gunderson. “Oregon doesn’t get the kind of publicly for fighters that other places get, like California. I’ve got more fights than some guys have at the UFC… a lot more. I just don’t have the publicity yet because I haven’t fought outside of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.”

Gunderson continued, “I’ve fought a lot of tough guys, but fought them all up here, so it’s time for me to get out, travel, and have some fun, too.”

When it comes to fighting style, Gunderson is the kind of fighter who is more likely to stand and trade strikes than he is to take the fight to the ground, and that’s the kind of opponents that he wants to face in the future.

“[I’d like to fight] the kind of guys that stand up a little bit,” explained John. “Really, it doesn’t matter who. I just want to have an exciting fight, no matter who I fight or what kind of style they have. I just want to have an exciting fight [against] someone that wants to fight and not just lay there in guard and try to submit a guy. I want someone who wants to fight.”

The opposition that Gunderson has beaten so far in his career includes Cam Ward, Enoch Wilson, and Pride fighter Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett. While these are all tough fighters, John feels that it’s time to take a step up and face more established talent.

“I’ve had 31 fights, and I’ve been trying to build myself up that way,” said Gunderson. “I think some of those guys in the UFC, some are top fighters, and some aren’t… or in other organizations, the lightweights aren’t [top fighters]. I don’t believe Charles Bennett was that good when I fought him.”

Gunderson further commented, “I think I’m right up there with those top guys, especially with heart and conditioning. No one’s got that over me [by] a whole bunch. That’s how I’m able to win a lot of my fights… because of my aggression and conditioning.”

As for the future, Gunderson will continue to defend his titles and hopes that his performances in the rest of the year will lead him to the biggest stage in American MMA.

“I either want to fight in the WFA, Strikeforce… but the ultimate goal is the UFC,” exclaimed Gunderson. “Pride is another one, but the ultimate goal is to get on TV where all my friends can see me fight, and that’s in the UFC.”

Gunderson continued, “It’s sometimes strange when you see guys that you’ve already beaten fighting on PPV and wonder, ‘Why aren’t I there?’ I have had buddies that I’ve trained with that have already gotten their shot… guys like Josh Haynes, Chris Leben, and Ed Herman. They got their shots. It makes me proud, but it also makes me jealous, so I’ll just keep going and do what I’m doing, and hopefully that time comes.”

When that time comes, John feels that he’ll put on an entertaining performance that will be sure to make people take notice of him.

“If you’re going to have me out at your show, I’m going to have an exciting fight,” proclaimed Gunderson. “I love to stand up and exchange. I think that’s the most exciting part of a fight… when two warriors are in there and they’re getting after it. I’m not a lackluster fighter. I like to get after it.”

John concluded, “I’d like to thank Vicious Fight Gear, Stars Cabaret, Phat Cat Tattoo, and all the guys in Medford who help me train.”